Sudan 'launches air strikes' on South

2012-05-04 12:37
Khartoum - South Sudan on Friday accused Sudan of launching an air strike on one of its oil regions, imperilling the chances of a promised ceasefire between the two former civil war foes, but Khartoum denied the charge.

The 1 800km-long border between the two countries had been largely quiet for the past 48 hours, raising hopes that they could begin talks to end a series of clashes over oil exports, border demarcation and citizenship that have pushed them closer towards a full-blown war.

But South Sudan's army (SPLA) spokesperson Philip Aguer said on Friday that Khartoum was again on the offensive.

"There was an aerial bombardment in Lalop at Unity state at 16:00 on Thursday," he said, speaking from Juba.

"At the same time our position in Teshween was shelled using ground artillery."

Sudan's army spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment, but Sudan's Information Ministry spokesperson denied the allegations.

"This is a lie. The Sudanese government is focusing on protecting its border and rooting out the SPLA from its territories," said Rabie Abdelatie.

Claims of the attack came after Sudan said it was ready to accede to international demands for a halt to hostilities, albeit with a significant caveat.

"The ministry points out in light of the repeated attacks and aggressions that South Sudan's army is carrying out ...the Sudanese armed forces will find itself forced to use the right to self-defence," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Limited access to the remote border areas make it difficult to verify often contradictory statements from both sides.

Threat of sanctions


The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution threatening Khartoum and Juba with sanctions unless they stopped fighting and resumed talks within two weeks, endorsing an African Union deadline of 08 May for negotiations to begin.

Sudan's ruling National Congress Party has shrugged off the threat, saying such U.S.-backed resolutions "aim to punish Sudan and reward the aggressor", the state SUNA news agency said on Friday.

The African Union has drawn up a seven-point road map for peace that demands both countries withdraw their troops from contested areas and resume talks.

Africa's largest country before the South gained independence last July, Sudan sits atop some of the continent's most significant oil resources.

But it lost three-quarters of the oil after Juba's seceded under a 2005 settlement that ended two decades of civil war. The pipelines to export the oil are all located in the north, however, and a dispute about how the oil wealth should be divided has stoked fears of a return to war.

The conflict has brought nearly all oil production to a standstill, damaging both countries' oil dependent economies.

Indiscriminate bombings


New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Sudanese forces of conducting "indiscriminate bombings and abuses" against civilians in the Nuba Mountains and South Kordofan.

It has said the violence may amount to crimes against humanity. Sudan dismissed the charges.

The Sudanese army and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a rebel group, have been fighting in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since last year.

"The government does not attack civilians. The ones who are [attacking] are the SPLM-N and this is their creed. The government is committed to protecting its civilians from these rebel movements that indiscriminately loot and kill," Abdelatie, the spokesperson for Sudan's Information Ministry, told Reuters.

Read more on:    au  |  sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.